My first post was an introduction. I had no clue what I was getting into when I enrolled into the Program for Online Teaching.
My second week, I was made aware that various programs existed to teach online and it’s really not “one shoe fits all” but rather finding the right tools to use for MY online class.
The Beginner’s Questionnaire I completed helped me analyze my own pedagogy in teaching.
In our third week in POT, I started thinking about how I’d organize the content of my class – which I decided would be week by week. The hard thing at this point was trying to figure out how I’d set it up in regards to holidays or breaks. I realized creating a 16-week curriculum is how I should go about it and I can modify it, as needed depending on the semester.
In this post I had fun embedding videos. The “Where the Hell do I Start?” questionnaire helped narrow down my pedagogical design and analyze my Student Learning Outcomes.
In week 4, we were able to play around with different tools and figure out if there would be right for us or not. Ideas such “creating a blog” floated around my head—would it be right for my students or not? I’ve concluded that it depends on the level of French (subject I predominately teach)—a French 201 class might benefit greatly from keeping a blog (or journal) whereas a French 101 might be overwhelmed with such an assignment.
Two questions I pondered on this week:
1) What tools do I want to use to clearly and frequently communicate with my students? I’ve decided to use Blackboard (for Discussion Boards, etc.), my email and Skype.
2) How can I be seen as a caring, personable, and knowledgeable teacher versus a computer? I believe responding to students in a timely manner; with a personal email (not just a copy/paste from a FAQ) can be some ways to be seen as such. I also believe creating short videos for students (to not only see and hear you) can encourage students on a regular basis.
This week we explored the concept of an Online Syllabus. I believe including an agenda that describes main assignments due and tests/quizzes is important. Nevertheless, including TOO much on an Interactive Syllabus might push zealous students to want to get way ahead of themselves. In this week, I started hyperlinking different useful links to both my lesson plans and a potential Student Agenda/Interactive Syllabus. We discuss this more in Week 16 as well.
In Week 6 I took an Internet Skills Quiz. This week I was able to learn more about embedding videos and some useful lingo in this online world of teaching!
This week I created a Twitter account/page. Even if haven’t really used it, I was able to get some ideas on how it could be used for an online class. I also explored the differences between Dropbox and Google Docs. I also realized I wanted to start making more videos (and have since week 7).
In this post I discuss how much we can learn from others. I’m constantly learning from other instructors. By reading other professors’ blogs and POT posts I am able to analyze a lot in my own classroom and hopefully improve my instruction as a whole.
In Week 9 we completed many student activities along with our regular reading. I checked out Second Life. I decided not to use it (as of now) for my online class but could see how I could possibly use it in the future. In teaching languages, I could create scenarios (like grocery shopping, getting a cab, going to the bank, making restaurant reservations, etc.) students could “practice”.
This week we continued exploring Student Activities in the Online Environment.
I checked out Engrade, which I really thought was cool. But I decided to keep using Gradekeeper for now since Engrade doesn’t have the option of making the class a weekly (or bi-weekly) attendance but goes day-by-day (which works well in secondary schools but not for College—in my opinion). I emailed them about and they said they’d eventually change that… Until then, Gradekeeper will have to suffice! Pilar also showed us how to create a basic website such as those on Google Sites. Click here to view my new mini-website.
I found this week to be particularly interesting. As I mention in my post, I have handouts for almost everything (at least French 101-201)! Much of the content from my handouts I have created but some of it I have used/copied from other websites and such. The TEACH Act Checklist was very useful to me. I ended up emailing a few sites I “regularly” use content from to get their permission to use their material—which they allowed. J
This week I toyed around with embedding pictures in my website—so much fun! We continued looking at “free” content and classroom materials on websites such as: Free eBooks, Open Textbooks & Internet Archive. For teaching French I particularly enjoyed the Français Interactif, which has so many different tools!
Our post for this week was a self-assessment with links to all of the posts we had written at that point. It was a good way to reread our work, see how much we had already learned and review what we discovered from the Program for Online Teaching (as is this post).
After a refreshing Winter Break, we started back up with so many interesting things to discover. Week 13 I learned how to take screen shots. We “surfed” different image hosting websites such as Flickr or PicFindr. Having a Mac (that broke down TWICE throughout the POT) I also discovered short cuts to take snapshots.
We analyzed ways both audio and video could be used in our class—one of which is how it makes us more personable as a teacher.
We looked at audio recording tools such as Audacity, AudioBoo and one of my favorites: SoundCloud. Since week 14, I have recorded many short lessons using SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/profdemeo. Unfortunately though, the time is limited on HOW MUCH you can record—or at least for free. L
I was also excited to discover Norm’s 3-D rotating cube.
Week 15 was another pretty long post. As you’ll notice I really enjoyed testing out various tools and finding which ones I’d want to use for my own class.
I thought Prezi was super cool! Making a Power Point interactive is really fascinating.
Similar (in my opinion) to Prezi, but still different was creating a mind-map using Mindomo.
We had a lot to read this week. Week 16, I created a FAQ and a Readiness Quiz for an online class. Though I found both to be interesting I decided to change them both completely and combine them. Here’s a short video (I created yesterday) on the difference from Week 16 until now:
In this week of POT, we explored what managing a classroom online looks like. Though I still don’t know 100% what that looks like online, I feel like I have a better idea now than I did before Week 17. Other points brought up were record keeping, setting rules and procedures, keeping track of students and providing feedback. Lisa and Louisa also taught us a lot on saving-time (not duplicating our efforts). Also, thanks to Pilar, I was able to use Quackit.com to edit HTML content for Blackboard and other websites.
Another fairly long post—this week I write about predominately two main topics discussed: student behavior problems and privacy concerns. Finding what works for you is essential as an online instructor.
Week 19 opened my eyes to not only how much free (and useful) content is out there but also how I might want to put more of my work “out there” in that World Wide Web WORLD! I learned that I might not need to make handouts and videos of EVERYTHING I teach as I could use what others have done. I also pondered on my job as an online instructor—and how it goes far beyond simply teaching a student.
I decided I wanted to change my WordPress site name from ProfDeMeo to RacheleDeMeo so I could use the ProfDeMeo site as the website I’d use for teaching French and the RacheleDeMeo site for POT. This resulted in a few problems (Anthony so kindly helped me with) and not having everything embedded from one site to the other once I exported everything. Oh well!
Week 20 I focused a lot on HOW students learn and discussed something I’m passionate about: Learning Styles.
By the way, I was recently interviewed by Eric Robertson (Better Educators) on 1) the differences between the French & American educational systems & 2) Learning Styles.
Listen to the interview by going to:
This week I wrote what I would consider to probably be my favorite post. This week I learned about different learning theories: Insctructivism, Behaviourism, Constructivism as well as the Social learning theory, Connectivism and Emergent Learning. I analyzed my “type” of teaching and explored how using other learning theories could best aid my students to learn.
I was relieved this week to discover (thanks to POT and David Dewittler) that if we invest our time in an online class early on, it will “pay off”. I’ve often felt like I put so much into one class/one semester without it ever being used again. What has scared me in the concept of creating an online class is thinking I’d put in even more time than I do for the blended class I teach. Feeling like I can reuse what I have taught is encouraging. It’s also been nice seeing other professors’ online classes to get an idea of how I could create mine.
In my project for this week I talk about the Interactive Syllabus. I have learned so much in what to change from an on-campus class to an online class and what to include in an online Syllabus—making it interactive.
Some Final Thoughts…
I really am grateful for all the Program for Online Teaching has taught me. It has opened up my eyes to what an online class is, how the teaching differs from teaching on-campus and how to create an online class. I have enjoyed the experience, learning from others and figuring out what might work for me. I’m excited (and scared) to be teaching my first online class this Fall. I love being in the classroom and interacting with my students. I look forward to finding more creative ways to do this in my online class as well.
Thanks to all the POTCERT teachers, mentors and participants for all you have taught me during this adventurous learning journey!